Signed into law in 2007, Florida’s audit law is not binding on official results, does not lead to a full recount, and audits only one randomly selected election contest, selected separately in each county. No contest with boundaries greater than a countywide contest can effectively be audited. An audit is conducted after every election. In 2013, the audit law was amended to provide, in addition to a manual audit, the option of an “automated, independent audit.” Fla. Stat. § 101.591(1). Florida’s audit provisions can be found in Fla. Stat. § 101.591, while audit procedures are detailed in Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026.
Unless otherwise specified, references are to Fla. Stat. § 101.591.
Voting Systems Used
Florida primarily uses hand marked paper ballots and optical scanners in polling places, with ballot marking devices for accessibility. For the most updated information, please visit Verified Voting’s Verifier.
For an explanation on the types of voting equipment used, click here.
Both manual and automated audits cover Election Day, vote-by-mail, early voting, provisional, and overseas ballots.
The canvassing board must post a notice of the audit, including the date, time, and place, in four conspicuous places in the county and on the homepage of the county supervisor of elections website. Fla. Stat. § 101.591.3. The results must be made public by the seventh day after certification of the election. After general elections, the canvassing board must provide a report of the audit results to the Department of State by December 15. Fla. Stat. § 101.591. This report must contain the “overall accuracy of the audit” and analysis of discrepancies (see “Addressing Discrepancies” below).
Audit Counting Method
The audit is either a manual audit or an “automated, independent audit.” Fla. Stat. § 101.591(1). Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026 makes clear that an automated audit entails rescanning the ballots — not using the county voting system’s tabulation devices.
Type Of Audit Units
The audit units are precincts. For a manual audit, at least 1% but not more than 2% of randomly selected precincts must be audited. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(2)(a). For an automated audit, at least 20% of randomly selected precincts must be audited. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(b).
Contests & Issues Audited
One randomly selected election contest is to be chosen for the manual audit. Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026(2)(a). An automated audit shall consist of every race that appears on the ballot. Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026(2)(b). Each county conducts their random selection separately, so counties may audit different contests. See Fla. Stat. § 101.591(1).
After audits of general elections, local election officials must submit a report of the audit results and any discrepancies to the Department of State, including “recommended corrective action with respect to avoiding or mitigating such circumstances in future elections.” Fla. Stat. § 101.591(5)(d) However, no further action based on the audit results or discrepancies is required by statute.
For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.
The audit must be completed and the results made public no later than 11:59 p.m. on the seventh day following certification of the election by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(4). The county canvassing board then produces a report by December 15th. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(5).
Binding On Official Outcomes
Florida’s audit is conducted after certification of the results and statutes do not state that the audit results shall amend or in any way affect the official results (However, audit results might be used in legal action. In 2012, two village election outcomes in Palm Beach County were altered by a court-sanctioned hand recount after an audit found discrepancies.).
Oversight & Conduct
The audit is conducted by the county canvassing board or local board, and audit results are reported to the Department of State. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(5). The random selection is conducted at the local level. Fla. Stat. § 101.591(2)(a).
Each county election supervisor must file a security plan with the Florida Division of Elections, which is reviewed each odd-numbered year. Fla. Stat. § 101.015(4)(b)1. The security plan must include procedures for ballot chain of custody and security of voting systems, including verification that ballot containers with voted ballots are properly secured and accounted for. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-2.015; see also Fla. Stat. § 101.015(4)(b)1–2.
Additional Targeted Samples
The statute does not provide for targeted samples.